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New Clerys' owners face picket from staff upset over pensions

TRADE unions SIPTU and Mandate said yesterday that members will picket Clerys on Tuesday because the US investment house that bought the department store has not taken control of the company pension scheme.

US investors Gordon Brothers said last night that it had not closed down Clerys defined benefit scheme, which did not transfer over to the Gordon Brothers as part of the sale. Clerys' employees had two defined benefit pension schemes before the stores were taken over.

"It is a legacy matter for the trustees who are dealing with it at the moment," Gordon Brothers said in a statement. Gordon Brothers said it has already introduced a new defined contribution scheme.

Takeover

The takeover of Clerys saved the jobs of 147 directly employed staff and over 200 employees of concessionaires.

"There is no question, however, of the company becoming involved with or embroiled in legacy issues outside of its remit, ownership or responsibility," Gordon Brothers said last night. The "sole focus is on establishing a future for Clerys".

SIPTU members will hold a protest outside the Clerys store on O'Connell Street on Tuesday. SIPTU organiser Graham Macken said union members were concerned about pensions but also concerned at the manner in which the new owners have treated the workers at the outlets they have closed including outlets in Blanchardstown, Naas, and Sandyford.

"As the company has failed to respond to our concerns and to meet their moral obligations, union members have decided to highlight their disgust and will protest peacefully," Mr Macken added.

Irish Independent